FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
State Rep. Mike Sturla
State Rep. Rick Mirabito
House Democratic Policy Committee hears from human service advocates
WILLIAMSPORT, May 24 – State lawmakers on the House Democratic Policy Committee heard from health care administrators, community leaders and advocates for the disabled at a public hearing today in Williamsport examining the proposed cuts to human services funding included in Gov. Corbett’s 2012-13 state budget.
The hearing was requested and co-chaired by state Rep. Rick Mirabito, D-Lycoming. The hearing specifically looked at the steep cuts in human services funding that, if approved, would negatively affect Pennsylvania families, seniors, those with disabilities and other vulnerable residents.
State Rep. Mark Longietti, a Policy Committee vice chairman who co-chaired the event said, "For the second consecutive year Governor Corbett has decided Pennsylvania’s most vulnerable citizens should bear the brunt of his proposed budget cuts. Communities are still reeling in the aftermath of last year’s cuts and this year’s budget proposal would simply compound those impacts putting our seniors, our disabled, our families and our children at risk."
"I am concerned that the public may misunderstand the services provided by the Department of Public Welfare," Mirabito said. "We need to keep in mind we are talking about critical services for the blind, for mental health and mental retardation programs and others who have physical or intellectual disabilities. Most times their families are stretched financially and these are the programs that allow them to stay in their homes."
Those testifying at the hearing included: Lisa Basci, senior program specialist, Community Services Group; Bob Garrett, president/CEO, North Central Sight Services Inc.; Blake Apsokardu, administrator, and Lauren Leathers, admissions/marketing director, from the HealthCare Rose View Center; Dr. J. Morris Smith, coordinator, Shepherd of the Streets; and Renee Sluzalis, CEO, Roads to Freedom Center for Independent Living of Northern Central PA. There was also a public comment period.
For more information about the Policy Committee or for hearing materials, visit www.pahouse.com/PolicyCommittee.